TUC London, East and South-east Annual General Meeting

The AGM of what was formerly known as South-east Region TUC (“SERTUC”), took place on Saturday and did have some very worthwhile content, as well as seeing the beginning of a discussion about how to take the campaigning strategy of the movement forwards. We got two big name speeches to start us off: Mayor of London Said Khan and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.

After paying tribute to Workers’ Memorial Day (a minute’s silence was held), Sadiq focused on some of the pro-worker policies that he has enacted in City Hall. A London living wage of £10.20 per hour is being rolled out, to contractors as well as employees, and the London government will pushing for a Good Work Standard throughout the city. He also spoke about housing, revealed the shocking statistic that people in the 30s currently fleeing the city because they simply cannot afford the cost of living. To combat this, the Tory definition of “affordable housing”, which was 80% of market rent, has finally been scrapped. Sadiq’s definition now consists of:

  • Council housing
  • Living rent of 33% of average
  • Part-ownership

Much to my satisfaction as a transport worker, Sadiq confirmed that his administration will be fighting to get to London Transport a proper government maintenance grant, as was agreed as policy at London Labour regional conference in November.

Frances O’Grady started her speech with the contrast with last year’s AGM, which had been days after the calling of the snap general election and when we were anticipating a very poor result. She called on comrades to celebrate the success of the “best ever Labour manifesto… that had many of our policies”. She then proceeding to talk about Carillion, which she described as the sign that we should now demand that outsourcing as an entire model comes to a final end. Briefly mentioning Brexit, she reiterated that our movement will blame bad businesses, never workers, for cuts and low wages, a clear reference to the Windrush scandal.

Once the elections and business were done, there were four motions, which all passed:

  1. A motion from Oxford trades councils calling for greater scrutiny of the safety and conditions in youth and immigration detention centres.
  2. A motion moved by RMT and supported disabled activists calling for solidarity with all rail workers engaged in industrial action to stop the creeping and totally excessive expansion of automation in our transport systems. This is now Labour policy and represents a real step forward in the discussion on this issue from last year.
  3. A motion moved by RMT and seconded by TSSA on the now severe funding crisis in Transport for London.
  4. A motion against DWP office closures from PCS.

The next major event of the TUC is the demonstration on May 12th, but numerous speakers, including Saidq Khan and Fraces O’Grady, referenced that we must all protest the invitation of Donald Trump to London on July the 13th. What I think is starting to take shape, though, is a view that the TUC needs to do more focused work on things like McStrike or the Picturehouse strikers that will support our unions in recruiting and organising workers in new sectors.

McDonald’s Workers call for McSolidarity on International Workers’ Day



Bakers Union campaign to get secure jobs and hours as well as a Living Wage for their members.

McStrike: McDonald’s Workers call for McSolidarity on International Workers’ Day

Striking McDonald’s workers are calling for McSolidarity on International Workers Day – May Day.

McDonald’s workers from five striking stores have called for the public to show McSolidarity in person and online to support the McStrike.


Timetable (times/locations pickets):

·        00:01 Midnight Picket       Manchester

·        0700 – 08:00                       Manchester Morning Picket.

·        0800 – 09:00                       Cambridge

·        0800 – 09:00                       Crayford

·        Midday – 13:30                   Watford Demonstration


Please send solidarity messages to the BFAWU

Donations sent to BFAWU strike fund: BFAWU Stanborough House, Great North Road, Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL8 7TA.  

Oppose Tommy Robinson & the “Democratic” Football Lads Alliance

Stand up to the far right on Sunday 6 May
Facebook event here
On Sunday 6 May ex – English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson and the “Democratic” Football Lads Alliance are set to march through London as part of a far right “Day of Freedom”.
While we’ve seen a shocking example of state institutional racism with the Windrush scandal we’ve also seen growing attempts to use racism and Islamophobia to regroup and rebuild the xenophobic and fascist right.
Tommy Robinson has a long history of links to fascist and Alt-right groups. The DFLA, a split from the FLA, have recently hooked up with UKIP. To complete the circle UKIP leader Gerard Batten was interviewed this week by Tommy Robinson. UKIP and Batten have been working closely with the DFLA in recent weeks.
While we “March for Windrush” on Saturday 5 May we can’t allow racists and fascists to march through multicultural London unopposed the next day, Sunday 6 May.
Join the anti-racist mobilisation called by Satnd Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism details here 

March for Windrush on Saturday 5 May

Create a ‘hostile environment for racism
  • Monday 30 April: Join David Lammy MP & Diane Abbott MP in Parliament Square from 4pm while the Windrush petition is debated. Facebook event here
  • Saturday 5 May: March for Windrush @ Downing Street, 12pm. Facebook event here
The Windrush scandal has highlighted the racism at the heart of the Tories immigration strategy.

The “Hostile environment” created by Theresa May has targeted a generation of people who were invited from Commonwealth countries as UK citizens only to deport them and attack their rights once they have made their contribution to society.
While May and Amber Rudd are talking about mistakes being made and attempting to offer compensation, it’s clear that the Tories were carrying through a systematic program that targeted not just the “Windrush generation” but is designed to hit every migrant community. Rudd also lied about immigration removal targets.
In recent days there has been a wave of anger with Jeremy Corbyn calling for Amber Rudd to go. Stand Up To Racism initiated a major protest in Windrush Square Brixton last Friday (video here) that received national media attention.
We have now initiated protests in many towns and cities (see list here). In London Diane Abbott and David Lammy are set to join the Stand Up to Racism solidarity event in Parliament Square, during the Windrush debate in Parliament on Monday 30 April details here
And on Saturday 5 May Stand Up To Racism has called the “March for Windrush” assembling 12 noon at Downing Street details here 

12 May National Demo – searching for case-studies, and ramping up the mobilisation

The TUC are trying to identify people who are coming to the TUC’s national demonstration in London, 12 May, who have a good story to tell of why they are coming, and are willing to be used in local, or even national media work. The most effective use of these case-studies will be in press work with local papers and BBC county radio.

Examples would include:

  • Public sector workers, such as NHS workers, teachers, fire fighters, local government workers, civil servants, who have suffered under the 1 per cent pay cut year after year.
  • Families whose standard of living has constantly eroded.
  • Private sector workers who have not had a decent pay rise in years.
  • Workers who have suffered redundancy.
  • Workers whose employment is precarious, working in the gig economy, with no secure hours of employment – especially young workers.

So if there is a local trades council’s activist, or activists, that have a good story to tell and is willing to do this, please let me know their name, union, sector in which they work, phone number and email address.

And it is our experience that the local media where you are will be most responsive to local voices such as the trades council, especially if you have local case-studies to illustrate the story. So any volunteers for case-studies will give your trades council ‘traction’ with local media, as well as being useful for social media.

By the way, all you need to know about the arrangements for the national demonstration can be found at: https://www.tuc.org.uk/new-deal-working-people-tuc-march-and-rally

And if you are organising a coach please let me know, emailing lheselden@tuc.org.uk and NewDeal@tuc.org.uk

Hope to see you, your comrades and your banner if you have one 12 May in London. If you cannot come to London, you can still join in by organising something locally, such as a photo opportunity or a stunt of some kind.

No More Bombing – Stop the Rush to War

This Saturday 21 April | 1-3pm
NUT, Hamilton House
Mabledon Place
London WC1H 9BD

Help get involved in the movement in London. This is a chance to analyse the situation and plan where we go from here. The mobilisation over the attack on Syria has opened up major new possibilities for the growth of the movement. Find out how you can be a part of organising in London.

Speakers will include:

  • Tariq Ali, writer and broadcaster
  • Lindsey German, Stop the War convenor
  • Kiri Tunks, President of the National Education Union (NUT Section)
  • Andrew Murray, chief-of-staff at Unite the Union

Other speakers tbc.


Trade unionists have always taken a position on the major moral and political questions of the day. We should oppose fracking because:

  1. Fracking worsens Climate Change: ‘Fracking’ is the extraction of natural gas (or oil) by injecting fluid at high pressure to fracture rock. Like all fossil fuels, this gas produces carbon dioxide (CO2) when burnt. CO2 is the single biggest contributing gas to global warming, which is threatening catastrophic climate change. Fracking has been suggested as a ‘cleaner’ alternative to coal, but recent studies on methane gas leaking from wells contradict this. Methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.
  2. Fracking won’t create large numbers of permanent jobs: The jobs are likely to be short‑term specialised jobs, filled by existing staff already employed by the company rather than local jobs.Numbers are also over‑hyped.
  3. A report from Friends of the Earth, supported by the PCS trade union and North West trades councils, argued that a claim by gas company Cuadrilla that fracking would bring 1,700 jobs to the area was misleading as most would last for just one year. Fracking could lead to job losses in agriculture and tourism.
  4. Alternative energy strategies create more and longer lasting jobs: The Friends of the Earth report concluded “Renewable energy and energy efficiency… create over six times as many jobs as gas per unit of power generated or saved and around three times as many jobs for the same amount invested.”.
  5. Fracking will have a major impact on communities: A planning application for one well in North Yorkshire said drilling would create over 1,400 vehicle trips. This is disruptive, polluting and dangerous. Other impacts include an increase in earthquake risk, the disfiguring of local landscapes and reduced value of houses. The rich might be able to move, but it is much harder for workers and the poor to escape.
  6. Fracking can damage health: Fracking has been accompanied by claims of extensive local pollution to air, land and water sources. New York’s government banned fracking because it concluded fracking posed too great a risk to health. Over 500 academic papers warn of the risk to health from fracking.

Climate jobs—the alternative
Climate change is recognised by trade unions globally as an issue of social justice affecting poor
communities around the world.The One Million Climate Jobs report proposes a ‘National Climate Service’  to create public‑sector jobs in industries that reduce carbon emissions. Seven national trade unions and many union branches have signed up to this as an alternative that can create decent, well paid, safe jobs that tackle environmental destruction. Fracking is opposed by the NUT, PCS, BFAWU, EIS, TSSA and UCU unions. Fracking has been banned in Scotland, Ireland, Bulgaria and France and there are moratoriums in many other places including Wales, Netherlands and Germany.

Trade unionists have joined environmental activists and residents to oppose fracking because working class people should not be forced to work in the dirty, dangerous and unsustainable fossil fuel industry or suffer its effects in their communities. The alternative to unemployment, low pay and climate change is not fracking, but government investment in clean energy jobs. We encourage all workers to join an appropriate trade union www.tuc.org.uk/join-union If you are in a union, take our model motion to your union branch and local trades council. Join your local anti-fracking campaign. Join the Campaign Against Climate Change.

The Campaign against Climate Change brings people together to push for the urgent and resolute
action we need to prevent the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate.
Campaign Against
Climate Change
020 7833 9311
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